Posted on June 6, 2022
VICKSBURG, Miss. —The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District recognized recent retiree Kent Parrish at its annual Engineers Day awards ceremony on Wednesday.
Parrish, who retired in December 2021, was awarded the Bronze Order of the de Fleury Medal for his inspirational leadership to USACE throughout his 38-year career. This high honor recognized Parrish’s superior service to the United States Engineer Regiment as it supports the Army to assure mobility, enhance protection, enable expeditionary logistics, and build capacity to provide commanders with freedom of action.
Jacob Brister, deputy chief of Programs and Project Management Division and Parrish’s long-time colleague, provided introductory remarks and district commander Col. Robert Hilliard outlined the history of the de Fleury.
The presentation of the de Fleury began in 1989 by the Engineer Regiment when the Engineer School moved from Fort Belvoir, Virginia, to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, but its full history can be traced back to the 18th century. The medal was first cast in 1779 in honor of French Engineer Lt. Col. Francois Louis Tesseidre de Fleury, who commanded one of four Engineer Regiments during the Revolutionary War. De Fleury was noted for his valor after recapturing Stony Point, New York, from British forces earlier that same year, which lifted morale and helped prove the American Colonies were a fighting force.
Parrish began his career with the district in 1983 as a study manager/planner on projects like the Slidell/Pearlington Flood Control Study, Upper Steele Bayou, Upper Yazoo Projects, and Yazoo Backwater Reformulation studies. He was also integral in preparing Supplement 1 to the 1976 Mississippi River Levees Environmental Impact Statement for not only the Vicksburg District, but the USACE New Orleans and Memphis districts as well.
For over 20 years, Parrish served as the Mississippi River Mainline Levees (MRL) senior project manager. During this time, he oversaw more than 460 miles of mainline levees with a $20M annual construction program budget. He was responsible for levees being upgraded, repaired, relocated, setback, and built, and his efforts helped protect the wellbeing of thousands of individuals who lived in their vicinity.
Parrish also received several awards throughout his career, including the Commander’s Award for Civilian Service, the Superior Civilian Service Award, Vicksburg District Engineer of the Year, Commander’s Award for Public Service and USACE FY13 Program Manager of the Year.
The Engineer Regiment awards four levels of the de Fleury Medal: steel, bronze, silver and gold. The Bronze Order of the de Fleury is presented to individual who has given significant service or support to the Engineer Regiment. Only one Gold Order of the de Fleury is awarded each year.
The USACE Vicksburg District is engineering solutions to the nation’s toughest challenges. The Vicksburg District encompasses a 68,000-square-mile area across portions of Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana, that holds nine major river basins and incorporates approximately 460 miles of mainline Mississippi River levees. The Vicksburg District is engaged in hundreds of projects and employs approximately 1,100 personnel.